NCET helps you explore business and technology
By Jodi Herzik
When I was a kid, I remember running home from school every day to watch Star Trek (think: M-5 from the episode titled “The Ultimate Computer”). Thirty years later, I am still a sci-fi nerd, so it’s a bit surreal to watch as artificial intelligence (AI) begins displacing jobs like M-5 did on the Enterprise. Today the speed in which technology is changing our society is head spinning.
At the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in January 2017, Marc Benioff, chief executive of Salesforce, warned of AI creating “digital refugees.” Benioff said there is “no clear path forward” on how to deal with the job displacement that will occur.
Another Davos speaker, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted, “We should do our very best to train people for the jobs of the future.” It seems clear the tech industry is growing more aware of its role in driving automation and job displacement and they recognize we must begin now to plan for reinventing jobs that will likely be lost due to AI.
The potential applications for AI are widespread and already fully integrated into our daily lives, from Siri/Google/Cortana voice assistant to Netflix making recommendations based on our individual viewing experiences. Current predictions anticipate 47% of current jobs will be lost to AI within the next 25 years. Jobs range from truck drivers and customer service agents to executive assistants in every field.
These are merely projections, but it seems clear changes will come and they will come quickly. This said, it’s also predicted that much like the Industrial Revolution, entirely new industries will be created to meet needs that don’t exist today.
However, there are currently fields that will continue to see growing workforces such as those that require a creative (human) touch and respond to societal trends. Occupations such as nursing and allied medical fields are expected to grow to 20 million workers by 2020. Nevada System of Higher Education’s Chancellor, Thom Reilly recently identified nursing as an area of significant growth for Nevada.
The challenges for employers and educators: how to help existing workers acquire new skills; and how to prepare future generations for a changing economy and workplace shift driven by AI. Our mission at the University is to anticipate changes; which jobs will survive and which jobs will be created to serve the evolving economy. Recruiting, educating and guiding students to be successful in this environment is the big task ahead.
We’re all sorry for the other guy when he loses his job to a machine. When it comes to your job, that’s different. And it always will be different. – Doctor McCoy
Jodi Herzik is the Executive Director of Professional Development at the University of Nevada, Reno Division of Extended Studies and NCET’s VP of Biz Café. NCET is a member-supported non-profit that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology.